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Empowering Students: Franciscan University's Collaborative Workshops for Success

Gabriela Taylor, Franciscan University of Steubenville / The Center / January 23, 2024

Franciscan University of Steubenville first-gen students



One of the most important steps that Franciscan University of Steubenville (Franciscan) is taking towards addressing its diverse student community comes through a series of workshops scheduled in Fall 2023.

This cooperative effort involved multiple departments on campus. The purpose was to make valuable resources and support easily available for students, emphasizing the importance of departmental collaboration.



Department Involvement

The program united different departments each bringing with it its specific expertise. Active participation was made by the School of Natural & Applied Sciences, Career Services, Financial Aid, Student Engagement, and the Austria Study Abroad Program. The essence of this cooperation lies in the participation of the Center for Success with a first-generation student success counselor within that department. The Center for Success is a department on campus meant to provide academic resources and support for students, such as tutoring, academic coaching, accessibility services, and more.

Workshop Programming

This programming was based on a sequence of workshops specifically planned following the needs of first-generation and minority students at Franciscan University. The range of topics in the workshops includes student success approaches, content regarding financial aid—including information on the new FAFSA application form, and recommendations about studying abroad via our Austria Study Abroad Program.

Where Did It Take Place?

All the events took place on Franciscan’s campus, inside the Center for Success. This strategic selection of the location was meant to make first-generation students perceive the Center as a unique focused place for their needs related to academic and personal development. Franciscan seeks to promote a sense of belonging and convenience for students seeking assistance by centralizing these resources in the Center.

Franciscan aims to ensure that our first-generation students have readily available and easily accessible tools to deal with challenges.

When Did Students Participate?

The workshops were held throughout the fall semester of 2023. The arrangement of the workshops allowed learners to take part in sessions on their own time, enabling them to fit these into their schedules. The purpose is to continue this workshop series in future semesters.

Why is This Initiative Important?

The naming of the Franciscan University as a Hispanic-serving Institution and the creation of a position focused on programming for first-generation students were turning points that showed reason to draw attention to enhancing support toward minority populations. The workshops show a genuine wish to satisfy this need. Peter Lim, a sophomore at Franciscan and regular participant in the workshops, stated, “The workshops last semester, such as financial aid, definitely played a part in how I organized my commitments and opportunities during the academic semester. I also enjoyed the friendly interaction of peers, students, and mentors collaborating on the various topics.” Franciscan aims to ensure that our first-generation students have readily available and easily accessible tools to deal with challenges.

How Did It Work?

The success of this program was largely dependent upon cross-collaboration. Outreach initiatives were led by the Center for Success; this made students aware of events and available resources. At the same time, departments actively offered to do presentations as well which provided a wide variety of topics and experience. This teamwork encourages a sense of community stemming from the entire campus and responsibility to help students succeed.

In conclusion, the collaborative workshops by Franciscan University are simply a positive proactive step in helping provide a foundation for its first-generation students. By encouraging interdepartmental cooperation, the university is building a network of opportunities to help first-generation and minority students. The approach not only fulfills immediate needs but also provides support for holistic success at Franciscan.

For more information on Franciscan University of Steubenville's approach, please visit their website here.